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1830’s Plaid Pleated Dress, Photos

Today I have another set of photos to share. Much like the last photos I posted, these have an autumn theme and were taken in a pumpkin patch. I thought it would be make the perfect lighthearted backdrop for a wacky dress like this one, and it did not disappoint!

This was my first time having the whole ensemble on and I was pretty pleased with it – everything fit and was really comfortable. I was a bit concerned the petticoat would show, or that the bonnet would slip around, but neither of those were an issue.

I paired this with my regency stays that I made ages ago, and my “Victorian“* boots. Neither are particularly accurate to this period but helped achieve the silhouette I wanted. I talk more about the petticoats and the construction of this costume in these posts:

Post 1: The Bodice

Post 2: The Sleeves, Skirt, and Bonnet

Before getting into the photos I wanted to mention my last post, where I reviewed a bunch of costume reference books. If you’re interested in any of them this is the time to buy! Amazon has $10 off book purchases, and Barnes & Noble has 15% off your order, which makes the price of those pretty inspiration books a bit easier to manage!

Now onto the photos!

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And some muddy boots after a long morning! Luckily none got on the dress.

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And that’s it! Thanks for reading!

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Posted by on November 28, 2016 in 19th century, Completed Costumes

 

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Plaid, Pleats, and Piping – Making an 1830’s Dress, Part Two

This post is about making the sleeves, skirt, and bonnet for an 1830’s ensemble. I posted about making the bodice for this project a few months ago but didn’t finish the ensemble until last week!

I looked at a lot of sleeve examples from the 1830’s but finally decided on something a little silly that would let the plaid really shine – shirring.

I sketched a few designs but ended up making the the sleeves with four portions – two shirred upper portions separated by piping, a loose puffed portion, and the cuff.

The first step was cutting out four sixty inch wide strips. Then I used the lines in the plaid as a guide for gathering the strips down.

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This was very time consuming to do. Each sleeve had seven rows of gathering – that’s 420″ of fabric that had to be gathered down, and that’s just for one sleeve!

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Then I sewed piping onto the bottom edge of each piece.

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The second shirred panel was sewn on, just below the piping.

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Then I trimmed the top of the sleeves so they would fit the armscye.

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The third portion of the sleeves we large rectangles. I turned the bottom few inches of the side edge inward to hide the raw edges, then gathered the top and bottom edges. The top edge was gathered to the width of the shirred panels, and the bottom edge to the width of the cuffs.

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They were sewn on to the shirred panels.

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Then the top portion of the sleeves were lined with cotton to hide the raw edges.

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The cuffs are interfaced rectangles of cotton with the edges ironed inward. Then I sewed piping onto each edge.

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I used whip stitches for this, so the stitching wouldn’t be visible.

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The cuffs were sewn onto the sleeves by hand, with more whip stitches.

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Then lined with cotton. The fabric is lightweight enough that even when gathered down this densely it doesn’t add much bulk to the seam.

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I did up the side seam, then covered the raw edges with plaid bias tape.

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The final step was sewing two hooks and bars into each cuff.

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I sewed the sleeves on by hand, with slip stitches, and then the bodice was complete! I’m pretty happy with this. At first I thought the plaid was too busy, and the shirring looked odd with the pleating, but I got over that and now I think it’s wonderful.

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I didn’t take very many photos of making the skirt since I made it in two hours the night before we photographed this project. But it’s pretty easy to explain since the skirt is just a large rectangle!

I turned the hem inward by a half inch, then inward again by two and a quarter inches. I used a cross/catch stitch for this, and I have a tutorial on the process that can be watched here!

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The top edge was pleated with knife pleats. I originally had the waistline being straight, but after a fitting I realized it was too long in the front. I cut the waistline on an angle so it was two inches shorter in the front than in the back, which leveled the hem.

Then I sewed on the waistband – this was done by machine to save time.

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The back edges were turned inward twice to form a finished edge. Then I sewed hooks and bars in. The back seam was done up with a french seam.

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And that was it for the skirt! I hemmed it to sit nicely over a single cotton and tulle petticoat, along with a weird bum pad I made for an 1880’s dress. This caused it to flare out a bit in the back which wasn’t uncommon in the 1830’s.

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The final piece for this project is a bonnet. I used this as my main reference image and pinned paper onto a wig head until It had the shape I wanted.

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I transferred that onto a new sheet of paper and cleaned up the edges. Then I cut the pattern out from heavyweight interfacing.

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I sewed wire into the edges of each piece, then covered them with velvet.

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The cap portions of the bonnet were lined with scraps of silk taffeta, then sewn together by hand.

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I lined the brim with bright orange silk shantung, which matches the piping on the dress.

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It was sewn in with whip stitches, then sewn onto the cap!

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I’m pretty happy with how the shape turned out, and I love these materials together.

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Since the dress is so wacky I decided to keep the bonnet somewhat simple. It’s decorated with strips of orange silk that form a criss cross pattern with a bow in the back and ends that fall at either side. These can be used as ties, but the bonnet stays in place thanks to a comb pinned into the back of the brim.

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I should have photos of the finished ensemble up soon – we took some in a pumpkin patch, which made a nice backdrop for this fun dress. I just have to finish editing them!

Thanks for reading!

 

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Making an 1860’s Plaid Blouse

Today I had planned on posting about making a shirtwaist to go with my 1890’s cycling costume. But I didn’t get the video that goes along with that post edited in time, so i’m writing about a new project instead!

This project is a relatively simple three piece Civil War Era costume. It will consist of a blouse, skirt, and hat. It’s based off the two-piece ensembles that can be seen in many photographs from the 1860s. Though I definitely prefer the elaborate evening costumes, and matchy-matchy dresses from this period I’ve always found these interesting, and I like that they are different from the previous 1860’s pieces i’ve made.

Though i’ve been aware of this style for a long time, I didn’t feel especially inspired to make one until I saw this fabric. I think the print is a bit too bold to be accurate, but as soon as I saw it I knew it would make a beautiful blouse, and I think I was right!

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Like my cycling jacket this project was made with materials sent to me for review by Organic Cotton Plus.  I was interested in this material since i’d never worked with cotton gauze before, and I found the print really interesting. From a distance it looks like a typical bold plaid, but up close you can see all the contrasting threads and detail work. I like fabrics that transform the more you look at them, and I think this fabric falls into that category!

The fabric is really soft and very lightweight. I’d say the weight is closer to chiffon than any cotton fabric i’ve worked with before. It acts a bit like chiffon too, which made it kind of challenging to work with. It frayed a lot and the pieces were prone to warping and shifting as I worked with them. But unlike chiffon the fabric didn’t pucker as I sewed it, and it gathered really smoothly.

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The material is a double cotton gauze, so it’s actually two layers of gauze material that have been sewn together. This makes the fabric opaque and double sided, so if you wanted you could use the backside which has a check print (this side is also grey but looks more warm toned than the plaid side, which almost appears blue in some lights).

Even though this fabric was challenging at times, I really liked working with it and i’d consider getting more for similar projects in the future. But I don’t think I would recommend it for very fitted dresses that would put a lot of tension on the seams since it is quite delicate.

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Now onto the construction! I didn’t bother making a sketch for this, I went straight into the draping. Which in hindsight wasn’t the best idea. Since I didn’t do any sketching I didn’t do much research either. And I didn’t realize that blouses from this period usually buttoned overtop of the skirt waistband, instead of being tucked into it. Instead I draped it like a shirtwaist, with gathers at the waistline and material flowing outward from that point.

But at least I remembered the dropped shoulder detailing!

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Here is my pattern after being removed from the form. I cleaned the edges of this up, added seam allowances, dropped the shoulder more, and made each piece a bit wider to allow for more gathers.

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Then I cut my pieces out and marked the gathering lines with basting stitches. This is the back panel.

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And this is the front panel. All these pieces were cut from one yard of the gauze, with the other yard set aside for the sleeves.

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To prevent the fabric from warping I fused interfacing into the shoulder portions of the front and back panels. I also ironed a one inch wide strip into the centerfront of the front panels. Then I finished the edge with lace seam binding.

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Then the edges were turned inward by hand and sewed down.

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I made a placket for the front panels out of a scrap of leftover material that was backed with interfacing.

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I cut down the edges and turned them inward. Then they were trimmed with some vintage cluny lace. I finished the placket off with a bunch of black buttons. These are the washable ones that come in sets of eight for 99c at Joanns.

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The placket was sewn on by hand.

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Then I sewed in a whole bunch of tiny snaps, which serve as the closure for the blouse. I could have made the buttons functional, but sewing tiny button holes without a machine is hard. And since this material is quite delicate and prone to fraying I didn’t think I could get an end result I was happy with by doing that.

Plus it’s way easier to do up/undo snaps, so I went with that.

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Then I gathered the back panel at the waistline and collar.

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The panels were sewn together at the shoulder with french seams.

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I bound the collar with bias tape.

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And trimmed it with some lace trim. I think lace looks a bit softer than the stiff collars that were sometimes worn, and that goes better with this fabric.

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And now I could move onto sleeves! These were cut out from the remaining material – I made them as wide and long as I could. The top edge is straight, but the bottom edge gets longer towards the underarm. I thought this was a fashionable thing during the 1860’s but I can’t find any examples of it, so I might have made that up.

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I folded the bottom six inches of the seam allowance inward by a quarter inch, then inward once again to finish the edge. Then I gathered the cuff down with two rows of gathers that are spaced a half inch apart. I love how these gathers turned out and they were really easy to do – I used my typical method of sewing small running stitches and pulling them tightly as I go.

 I think the fact this is a double gauze makes the material thick enough to create really pretty, dense gathers. But the fact it’s so lightweight means there isn’t a lot of bulk to them. It’s an interesting effect!

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I repeated the process at the shoulder of each sleeve. Then the cuffs were bound with strips of bias tape and finished with more lace.

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Look at those cute little cuffs!

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They close with a single button and some ugly buttonholes – in my defense the fabric was fraying a lot and I didn’t have matching embroidery floss!

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I sewed the sleeves onto the shoulder of the bodice, then bound the edge with lace tape.

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The side seams were done up with french seams, then I gathered the waistline of the front panels. The final step was turning the hem inward and sewing it down with whip stitches. And that was it!

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I think i’ll wear this with a velvet ribbon and a few paper flowers at the neckline. Or a cameo brooch.

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 The bottom few inches of the side seam are left open so I can easily get the cuff over my hands.

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And the back! I had to add a pleat to the back of the collar to make it fit better, but other than that it’s perfect!

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Okay perfect might be a stretch considering the goof up with the waistline style and sleeves. But other then those issues, i’m really happy with how this turned out! I think the lace/fabric/button combination is really pretty. Now I just have to finish up the matching skirt and i’ll be able to share photos of it all together!

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That’s it for today! Thanks for reading!

 

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1890s Plaid Walking Ensemble, Photos

I’ve already talked about this project a lot, so I won’t ramble on for too long. But I wanted to say once again that i’m really pleased with how this project turned out.

I don’t think these pictures are the best photos in the world, but i’m so happy with how the costume looks in them. Sometimes I see other bloggers photos and wonder how they make historical costumes look so…right, and effortless when worn. Mine always take ages to lay out, and if I move the skirt has to be refluffed and the bodice adjusted to make sure it looks okay.

This costume doesn’t have any of those issues. Even after walking for half a mile on dusty trails it looked fine as soon as I dropped the skirt. So when I see these photos I see the ease of wearing this costume, which makes me feel like i’m one step closer to making things that are on the same level as the costumers I admire. And that is a pretty wonderful feeling!

A brief write up of this project can be found here, along with links to the “Making of” posts which detail the entire process of creating this costume. 

I’ve also uploaded a video that shows the details of this costume, the process of getting into it, and some footage of it being worn. If that interests you it can be watched here!

Now as promised, here are the finished photos of the ensemble!

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And a close up of the back – I don’t like this photo, since the wig looks shiny, but I wanted the show off the soutache detailing!

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That’s it for today, thanks for reading!

 

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Making an 1890’s Plaid Walking Ensemble, Part Two

Making an 1890’s Plaid Walking Ensemble, Part Two

A couple weeks ago I posted about the plaid skirt I have in progress. That skirt is part of an ensemble which will also include a blouse, jacket, and hat. The skirt design came really easily to me but figuring out the upper half proved to be more of a challenge!

I had a very rough idea of what I wanted this jacket to look like but couldn’t seem to find anything that matched my “vision”. The traditional eton jackets were a bit simpler than what I wanted and everything else seemed too big and poofy.

I ended up purchasing the book “Victorian Fashions and Costumes from Harper’s Bazar, 1867-1898″ which was a big help. I didn’t see anything in it that I wanted to replicate but it gave me a better idea of the silhouettes and closures used on jackets from the 1890s, which made me feel more comfortable in making up a design of my own.

Here is a rough sketch of what I had in mind.

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Then it was time to make the pattern. I had planned on flat drafting this but after reading about the process I felt too intimidated and chose to drape it instead. Even though I didn’t flat draft it,  I used the patterns in “The Keystone Jacket and Dress Cutter” as a guide for the shapes of the pieces, which was helpful.

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Once copied to paper my pattern looked like this!

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I used that pattern to make a mock up which looked like this! I wasn’t expecting it to look anywhere near this good on the first try, so this was a very pleasant surprise.

There were a a bunch of changes that had to be made – like lowering the hem and waistline by a half inch, taking the front dart in by a 1/4″ at the waist, and adding a half inch to the arm openings. But all of those are pretty simple to do.

I also decided to add an inch to the front of each panel so the jacket could close with buttons. That wasn’t part of my original plan (or sketch) but I thought it would look more flattering in the end.

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Once the pattern was altered I drew diagonal lines onto each piece. These lines are a guide for which direction the plaid should face, and line up with certain points on the plaid material.

Each pattern piece is pinned onto the material, with the guidelines carefully matched to points on the plaid.

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Once one piece is cut out it’s used as a guide for cutting out the next piece so I can guarantee everything is symmetrical.

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By some miracle I managed to cut out seven of the nine jacket pieces from the weirdly shapes scraps I had leftover after cutting out the skirt. This was fantastic news since I only had a yard and a half of material leftover aside from the scraps, and I needed ALL of that yardage to cut out the sleeves and front panels of the jacket.

Speaking of the front panels, these had me stumped. I drew the guidelines onto the pattern, just like I did with all the other pieces. But after doing that I realized a major problem.

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Once the dart is sewn the plaid would not match. Here you can see how far the guidelines are from lining up.

If this was at the back of the bodice I might be more lenient, but this is the front, it can’t be that far off!

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So I chopped my pattern into two pieces, added seam allowances, and cut them out on separate grain lines.

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Then I sewed the pieces together – I realize it doesn’t look like much here, just wait!

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Before sewing the dart I interfaced the lapels and collar. I’d planned on pad stitching this but I didn’t have the right materials around so interfacing seemed like the best option.

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Now I could finally do the dart up and see if it worked, which it totally did!  I’m pretty sure I made an squealing noise when I ironed this and pinned it to my dress form. I knew it should work, but I was not expecting it to look this good and match up this nicely.

It isn’t perfect but it’s way closer than I had expected it to be!

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With the front panels done I moved on to assembling the rest of the pieces. Each piece was basted together by hand, then sewn.

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The basting stitches are more secure than pins, so the fabric doesn’t move when I sew it and I can make sure everything lines up just the way I want it to!

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Once the back panels were assembled I decided to try something new. It’s a technique called Soutache, which involves creating patterns out of braided cord. I bought sixteen yards of green soutache braid back in December, which I planned on pairing with this fabric before I even had a design in mind.

I was mostly inspired by this jacket, though I used some references from the Victorian fashion book as well. I spent hours trying to figure out the name of this type of design since I hoped to copy an existing pattern but I couldn’t find anything similar so I had to draw it out myself.

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Then I loaded it into photoshop and mirrored the image. I also made the top loops a little bit bigger and stretched the image to make it longer. After printing it out I used white out and a sharpie to rearrange a few things I wasn’t happy with.

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Then I traced the design onto interfacing, which got fused onto the back of the jacket panels.

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Then I sewed through the design with pale thread so the design was visible on the front of the fabric.

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And lastly I sewed the braid on. It is SO far from being symmetrical, which bothers me, but aside from that i’m pretty happy with how it looks. I was worried it would look too busy, or barely be visible on the plaid, but neither of those things were an issue in the end.

 Also I’m pretty sure the goal of these designs is to have them be made from one continuous piece of braid, which definitely isn’t the case for the design I came up with. So that’s something to keep in mind for the future.

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Despite the lack of symmetry, I really do like how it looks when the jacket is worn or on my dress form.

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When the back detailing was done I sewed the shoulder seem of the jacket, then cut out the  facing/lapels from silk. This is the same material I used for the pleated portions of the skirt panels and was also used to make the hat.

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The lapels were stiffened with fusible interfacing, then I sewed them into the jacket with the right sides facing each other, trimmed the corners, then turned things the right way out and pinned around the edges.

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I used small whip stitches to secure the layers of fabric together, then ironed the lapel so it was smooth.

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I didn’t figure out a soutache design for the lapels until after they were sewn to the jacket. And at this point I couldn’t use interfacing on the underside of the fabric to transfer the design. So I traced the design onto the tissue paper that comes with interfacing.

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Then pinned that onto the lapels and sewed through it. Once I was done I very carefully ripped the tissue paper away, making sure that I didn’t tear out my stitches.

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And now I had a pattern to follow!

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Here is the jacket after the braid was sewn on. I changed the design up a bit, but it is still very similar to the pattern shown above. I really like the way the green braid pops against the silk, and how it nicely ties in with the detailing on the back of the jacket.

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That is it for this post, but I should have another one up soon showing the finished jacket!

Thanks for reading!

 

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Making an 1890’s Plaid Walking Ensemble, Part One

So my blogging attempts have been abysmal lately, which is pretty obvious if you look at my three week gap between posts. Recently I haven’t been happy with how my projects are going, or my attempts at writing, or the videos i’ve tried to edit. The combination of all those things going poorly has led to a bit of a motivation block, where I don’t feel like working on anything.

But i’m trying to fix that! And i’m also going to attempt to follow a blogging schedule, and a schedule in general since I’m a lot more productive when i’m following lists and trying to reach weekly goals.

Part of my plan to restore my enthusiasm involves starting new projects. And this is one of those new projects. I normally I write about projects after finishing them but today I felt like posting about what i’m currently working on for a change!

For a while now i’ve been itching to make something different from my recent projects. Something where the construction is the main focus. Which is why I decided to make a plaid skirt and  jacket with every seam matching perfectly to create a chevron print. What is more construction focused than that?

It’s based off this ensemble, which is one of my favorite examples of fashion from the 1890s. I’m not trying to recreate it, just using the shape and pattern as inspiration for my own piece. Right now I have no clue what the jacket I plan on making for this project will look like, but I have made good progress on the skirt, which is what this post is about!

For this project i’m using the fake wool that I purchased from Joanns a while back. I have a little more than six yards of this and it was purchased for a total of $24. I’m pairing it with two yards of a silk I purchased a few years ago, which I’m pretty sure cost $16 total. I think including the price of lining materials and basic supplies this project will have a total cost of $50, which is pretty good for a historical ensemble!

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The first step was creating a pattern. Or taking the measurements to create a pattern. I would have liked to cut the skirt as two pieces, with two seams, but I didn’t have enough material for that.  So instead I came up with a six piece pattern with shorter side panels that would have the lower portions pleated. I’ve seen similar things done on lots of dresses from the 1890s and I thought it would help break up overwhelming amount of plaid.

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I turned the measurements into a functional pattern then started laying it out. Each panel has to be bias cut to create the chevron print. Unfortunately this process requires a HUGE amount of fabric and leaves lots of weirdly shaped scraps. I’m really hoping those weirdly shaped scraps can be used for the jacket, otherwise I may not have enough material to complete it!

To make sure everything was cut out on the right angle I drew guidelines onto my pattern pieces. These guidelines were matched up with the underside of a beige line.

Here are two of the pattern pieces laid out.

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I used the pattern for cutting out half the skirt, then used the pieces I cut out as a guide for cutting out the other half. This way I could perfectly line up each piece with the fabrics pattern and ensure that my skirt would be symmetrical and that my seams would match up.

You know you’ve done a good job when it’s difficult to see the piece that’s already cut out because it blends in so well.

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And if everything is done properly the pattern should match pretty well without *too* much effort! Here are the two front panels before I sewed them together.

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Though the pieces line up pretty well, I wanted them to line up perfectly after they were sewn. So I didn’t use pins for this project at all, instead I basted all the pieces together by hand.

For each seam the process was the same. I started by basting the pieces together with wrong sides of the fabric facing each other. I used the plaid pattern as a guide and made sure my needle went through the same points of the pattern on each side.

This was made a bit more challenging by the fact that everything was cut on the fabrics bias, so it shifted around and warped really easily.

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Then I used my machine to straight stitch over the basting stitches. I trimmed the seam allowance down to an eight of an inch and pressed the seam open so it was flat.

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Then the fabric gets folded at that seam line, with the right sides of the fabric facing each other.

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And then the basting process gets repeated!

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 Then I used my machine to sew over the basting stitches and ironed it once again. This is the front seam, so the primary and secondary pattern both line up.

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Unfortunately I didn’t have enough fabric to make all the panels line up this well. The pattern on the side panels only line up in one direction – note how the lighter beige stripes and light grey boxes don’t line up. Luckily this really isn’t noticeable from a distance, since the zig zag pattern is so much more prominent.

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Speaking of the side panels, somewhere along the way I majorly goofed up. After spending hours making sure everything lined up perfectly and getting half the skirt sewn together I realized I cut the back of the skirt out upside down. So the plaid was facing in the wrong direction.

It looks fine from the front!

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But not from the back 😦

My dad kindly drove me to the two nearest Jo-anns but neither of them had any more of this fabric. I didn’t have enough fabric left to recut the back panels, so I decided to add a second side panel instead. Not ideal, but better than nothing.

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I sewed together the two side panels using the same hand basting method. The I turned the hem inward by a half inch and created a facing out of some brown suiting. Most skirts during this period had facings at the hems, or were lined. This added weight to the hems which make the skirts easier to walk in, and makes the skirts lay better against the petticoats.

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I sewed the facing in by hand, then made up some piping. For this I used cotton cord and some green wool that was leftover from my Merida costume. This also got sewn on by hand.

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Now it was time for the pleated panels! I cut out two twenty eight inch by forty eight inch panels of silk. Then I turned the hem inward by a half inch, twice, and sewed the hem by hand.

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And then both panels got knife pleated. I went for one inch knife pleats, which are half an inch deep since I didn’t have enough material for the full depth.

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I pinned the pleated panel on roughly, then pinned it to my dress form and adjusted it so the length was right. Then it got pinned on properly and sewn on with a whip stitch.

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Here is the back of the pleated panels after sewing them on. As you can see there is some excess fabric at the top, which I trimmed down to one inch.

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 Then I folded the trimmed edge inward, so the raw edge was hidden.
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And then I sewed the edge down.

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Now the interior of the side panels looked like this.

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And the outside looked like this.

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And that’s my progress on this so far! I really like how it is coming along. I still have to do up the rest of the skirt seams, hem the front and back panels, add facings, and sew hooks into the back. So it isn’t close to being finished yet, but it’s getting there.

Oh, I should probably also mention that the sloped hem on the side panels is intentional. I thought that would make it look a little bit more interesting, though for some reason I didn’t include that detail in my pattern sketch.

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Now to figure out what the top half of this project will look like…

Thanks for reading!

 

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Making a Plaid Dress, 1860s, Part Three

This blog post is really overdue. Usually I’m a few weeks, or even months late when it comes to blogging about projects but in this case i’m years late. This project was originally completed in November 2014! I never got around to writing about it and I have no idea why.

This past November I fixed it up, made a matching headpiece, and got photos of the project. So now seems like an appropriate time to finally write about it. If you would like to read about making the bodice there is a blog post about that here, and a blog post about making the sleeves here!

Usually skirts from this period would be cut from gored panels. Because gored panels create full skirts with less material at the waist, and require less fabric to make. Win-win all around.

But doing that requires sewing certain seams on a the diagonal, and that wouldn’t look very nice on the linear plaid material that I was working with. So I decided to make a simple rectangle skirt from three 48″ by 55″ panels. These got pinned together with the wrong sides of the fabric facing each other.

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I was very careful to make sure everything lined up perfectly. Then I sewed a half inch away from the raw edge, trimmed the seam allowance down to 1/4″ and folded the fabric so the right sides were facing each other and the raw edge was hidden.

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To make sure the plaid pattern would line up perfectly I used basting stitches instead of pins to secure everything.

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Then I sewed a half inch away from the edge, again, to create a french seam. Once ironed everything looked pretty good! Not perfect, unfortunately, but it was close(ish)…

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I folded the bottom edge inward by a half inch and basted it in place.

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Then folded it inward by an inch so the raw edge was hidden.

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And stitched across the top edge with a cross stitch!

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I marked the pleat placement across the top edge. This skirt was knife pleated (the easiest and prettiest type, in my opinion). Two thirds of the pleats go in one direction, and one third in the other direction.

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Once the pleats are marked it’s just a matter of playing connect the dots (or lines, I guess)!

I pinned them in place.

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And put it on my dress form to see how it looked. At the time I was really happy with it, now I feel otherwise. How did I think that level of volume was okay for this period? It looks so sad!

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But on the positive side of things, I really like how the pleats look!

After pleating everything I sewed across the top edge and did up the back seam (with a french seam). As per usual I left the top eight or so inches open and folded the raw edge inward twice, then secured it with whip stitches. This opening lets me get in and out of the skirt.

Since I didn’t want the petticoats to be visible through the portion of the skirt left open, I used snaps sewn onto each side to hold it closed.

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I did a terrible job documenting this part of the process but the next step was making the waistband. I cut out a strip of plaid material and interfaced it, then folded over all the edges.

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I made piping from bias cut strips of matching green fabric, flannel (as lining), and cording. I don’t have photos of the piping but I do have photos of the raw materials which is probably not super helpful.

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Then I sewed the piping around each edge of the waistband and sewed the waistband onto the skirt with whip stitches.  I covered the raw edges of the waistband interior and the top edge of the skirt with cotton lining, which was also sewn in with whip stitches.

This wasn’t the best decision. The thickness of this fabric (especially when pleated!) added a lot of bulk to the waistband. The top edge should have been finished separately and folded down, so it sits below the waistline and adds volume to the skirt instead of adding extra inches to the waistline.

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I sewed a button hole into one side of the waistband, and sewed a button onto the other. With that done the skirt was finished!

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Here is what it looked like worn, over a bunch of random petticoats and with the cotton sateen corset I made to go with it.

The skirt is so…meh

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This November, when the fall colors were in full swing I decided I wanted more photos of this project. Which required fixing the skirt problem.

Which meant I needed to find something to make it fuller. I don’t have a round hoop skirt or elliptical hoop skirt that would be appropriate for this period, but I DO have a spanish farthingale which is kind of similar. To make the shape of it a little nicer I folded a petticoat in half and safety pinned it to the back of the farthingale.

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Then tossed a cotton/tulle petticoat over the whole thing to round it out. It’s a little lumpy, but it definitely has the appropriate level of volume.

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And my skirt had enough volume to sit nicely over the petticoat without disrupting the pleats! All I had to do was re-hem it to suit the new shape. This involved raising the front by almost three inches, and the sides by an inch.

Another change was sewing three snaps into the back of the waistband, which line up with three snaps sewn onto the back of the bodice. This weighs down the back of the bodice so it doesn’t move when I raise my arms, and prevents the skirt from “sinking” and showing the bottom edge of the bodice.

As a side note, I love the silhouette this petticoat and farthingale combination gives. It’s a little flat at the bottom since the top petticoat isn’t long enough, but other than that I think it’s great. I’m so pleased that i’m now planning on using it underneath another mid 19th century gown, all i’ll have to do is make a more appropriate, ruffly petticoat to go overtop!

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I also decided to make a headpiece to match the project. I didn’t want to make a full bonnet, but I really liked the look of this partial bonnet. Though I didn’t have proper materials for that, so I combined the shape with the sheer/open appearance of this evening cap from the same period.

I made my pattern out of newsprint.

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Then cut it out of felt weight interfacing. I tried it on at this point and realized I made it way too big – I had to take it in by three inches!

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I closed the opening and sewed wire to the interfacing so it became shapeable.

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Then I got to decide on materials. I chose to use the matching green material (which was used to pipe the waistband) and a bit of vintage lace.

I ended up using a half yard of crochet lace in a deep beige color and a stained lace trimmed mesh collar in the same shade.

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I covered the opening with the lace. Then I removed the binding from the collar (and the stains), gathered it slightly, and sewed it onto the top edge. This creates a bit of texture, and a ruffle, which is something this costume was really lacking!

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I covered the interfacing with one inch wide strips of bias tape, which were made from the green fabric. I left the tails of the bias tape really long so I could use them as ties for the bonnet, which will keep it in place when worn.

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The edges of the bias tape were whip stitched together and then it was done!

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Here is the project all together!

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And here it is when worn!

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Look at how much that side profile has improved thanks to the petticoat switch!

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I’m very pleased with how this whole ensemble turned out in the end, even though it took a while to get there!

I’ll do my best to edit the rest of the photos we took in November and have those up soon…but no promises!

Thanks for reading!

 

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